The Impact of Exercise on Stress and Mood

exercise and mood


Feeling anxious or stressed is not unusual. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America report that almost 40 million people in America suffer from an anxiety disorder, and many feel stressed on a daily basis.

But whilst anxiety and stress can be overwhelming, there are plenty of strategies to help manage symptoms and get you feeling functional again.

Could exercise be one solution that could work for you?

Support with Stress

There is lots of support available for dealing with stress, and plenty of organizations and individuals that will offer information. When it comes down to it though, the person in control of your stress and anxiety is you.

If you want to change your mood, you’ll need to commit to making changes in your lifestyle which may seem like a bit of effort – but the great news is, exercise will impact more than just your stress levels, and have benefits for your everyday health and wellbeing too.

Feel Good Hormones

Any exercise you choose to do can help lower stress levels. It’s not the activity you take part in that matters, but rather, the chemical changes that activity causes in the brain.

These changes produce endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which work together to help you feel good naturally, leaving you more alert, awake, and in an overall better mood.

You should also find that your appetite and sleep cycles improve – two other things that are often impacted by anxiety and stress.

Exercise options like yoga, swimming or pilates can leave your face feeling relaxed and your body less tense, as they stretch and tone your muscles, benefiting your figure as well as your brain.

If you’ve got more energy to burn, you could consider something a bit more fast paced like tennis, squash or jogging.

You may have heard the term ‘runner’s high’ and this is where that comes from – the natural feeling of wellbeing that is produced when you exert yourself physically.

Other Benefits of Exercise on Mood

On top of the happy hormones that’ll be whizzing around, you’ll notice exercise has other benefits as well.

The focus required for most forms of exercise can help to distract you from any stressful thoughts or worries. You may also begin to feel like you have more control over your life – achieving exercise related goals can leave you feeling more confident in other areas too.

If you’ve chosen to take exercise classes, you may even meet new friends and enjoy spending time socializing with them… an indirect but still very awesome benefit of working out!

The Takeaway

Whichever exercise you choose, you’re bound to see benefits to your stress and anxiety levels, as well as your mood. Grab your racquet or mat, lace up your running shoes, or slip on a swimsuit, and enjoy the results of a healthier, happier you.

About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

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